How to talk to your partner about going through a dry spell

Charlotte Grainger

Have things cooled down in the bedroom department? If it’s been a minute since you and your partner turned up the heat, you might be wondering how to speak up. Luckily, we talked to a sex and intimacy expert to get the answers you need

While many couples go through sexual “dry patches”, it’s important to communicate openly about the issue. Keeping schtum and hoping that the spark will reignite is the easy option. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for you and your sex life. As Clinical Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr Christopher Ryan Jones, PsyD, puts it, “couples who talk about sex, have more sex.” So, let’s take a quick look at how you can do both.

 

Pick the right time and place to have “the talk”

Chances are if you’ve been holding things in for a while, you feel like you’re about to burst at the seams. However, choosing the right time and place for this conversation is vital. Figure out what’s comfortable for both you and your partner, and take things from there.

“You may not want to have the discussion at a family dinner. But you may be OK with having it when the two of you have dinner alone,” says Jones. “I do recommend this be a face to face discussion and not over text or telephone.”

 

Speak up, but don’t simply demand more sex

Communication is key. However, the conversation cannot simply be you stating your demand for more sex. You need to also hear your partner,” says Jones. “Avoid assuming that your partner is simply not giving you what you want when they could or accusing your partner of cheating, not being interested in you or having a problem.”

Put simply, if you’re not having enough sex for your liking, it’s a shared responsibility. When you do speak up, be aware of how your words may affect your partner. You might try using neutral language, for instance, rather than directing your complaints at them.

 

Prepare yourself for a deeper conversation

Think this is all about sex? You might need to think again. When you start getting into the intimacy problems within your relationship, it may unearth a whole host of additional issues. Ensure you’re ready for whatever this talk brings up and be open to talking it out.

“Oftentimes, couples find that their partner has been thinking the exact same thing and just didn’t know how to bring up the subject,” says Jones. “Sometimes there are issues that need to be resolved, not necessarily in the relationship but perhaps one partner is having anxiety or having emotional difficulties that make being intimate in a sexual way difficult.”

 

Listen and ask those all-important follow up questions

You may think you know what’s causing the sexual “dry patch” in your relationship, but don’t jump to any conclusions just yet. When you’re talking to your partner, take the time to consciously listen to what they have to say.

“The important thing is that you listen to your partner’s response instead of assuming what they say or mean. If they say something you don’t really understand fully, ask follow-up questions,” says Jones.

 

Share your fantasies and what turns you on

Once you’ve pointed out the elephant in the room and started truly inspecting it, why not have some fun? This conversation is a great opportunity to learn more about your partner’s sexual desires and even share some of your ultimate turn-ons.

“Let’s pretend for a moment that the couple’s sex life has become dry due to a lack of excitement. Things have become routine and a bit boring. This is a great time to go back to the first stage of your relationship,” explains Jones. 

“Ask your partner what turns them on. Their likes, dislikes, fantasies, and desires. Because, as we develop as sexual beings, all of those things change. This isn’t a bad thing. This is actually a wonderful way to keep the excitement and fun in the bedroom.”

 

Come up with an action plan that works for you both

OK, so you’ve had the talk. Well done. That’s the hard part... Now what? “I recommend clients to create a resolution in their discussion. Don’t simply have a talk about the fact you’re not having sex. Come up with a plan to resolve it,” says Jones.

Each couple is different. You need to figure out what works for you both. Some may find that pencilling in a time for intimacy helps them make it a priority (yes, scheduled sex can be exciting too!). Others may want to try something new in the bedroom and see where that adventure takes them. Whatever you decide, when you’ve broached the topic, there are plenty of ways you can start heating things up again.

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